Gentlemen, that reminds me....

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Gentlemen, that reminds me....
(Or, Pull up a sandbag lad, I wanna tell you a story!)


(Thanks to my sister-in-law, Ann-Louise Tester, for sending me this one)

This slanderous little item was sent in by Stu Meek who is currently keeping his head down in Oman!.....

"... this picture appeared on the notice board when our sys eng went on leave and the deputy, Graham Ellerton took charge. Humour still exists in the radar world......"

Not reading the instructions is a particular failing in electronics engineers so I was particularly delighted to come across the following tale at whilst learning about central heating systems. Enjoy...

Peter Parry wrote (on the Subject of the Expanding Foam):

A friend of mine once built a canoe.  He spent a long time on it and it was a work of art. Almost the final phase was to fill both ends with polyurethane expanding foam. He duly ordered the bits from Mr Glasplies (an excellent purveyor of all things fibreglass) and it arrived in two packs covered with appropriately dire warnings about expansion ratios and some very good notes on how to use it.

Unfortunately he had a degree, worse still two of them.  One was in Chemistry, so the instructions got thrown away and the other in something mathematical because in a few minutes he was merrily calculating the volume of his craft to many decimal places and the guidelines got binned as well. He propped the canoe up on one end, got a huge tin, carefully measured the calculated amounts of glop, mixed them and quickly poured the mixture in the end of the canoe (The two pack expands very rapidly).

I arrived as he was completing this and I looked in to see the end chamber over half full of something Cawdors Witches would have been proud of.  Two thing occurred to me, one was the label which said in big letters: "Caution - expansion ration 50:1" (or something similar) and the other that the now empty tins said "approximately enough for 20 small craft"

Any comment was drowned out by a sea of yellow brown foam suddenly pouring out of the middle of the canoe and the end of the canoe bursting open.  My friend screamed and leapt at his pride and joy which was knocked to the ground as he started trying to bale handfuls of this stuff out with his hands. Knocking the craft over allowed the still liquid and not yet fully expanded foam to flow to the other end of the canoe where it expanded and shattered that end as well. A few seconds later and we had a canoe with two exploded ends, a mountain of solid foam about 4ft high growing out of the middle, and a chemist firmly embedded up to his armpits in it.

At this stage he discovered the reaction was exothermic and his hands and arms were getting very hot indeed. Running about in small circles in a confined space while glued to the remains of a fairly large canoe proved ineffective so he resorted to screaming a bit instead. Fortunately a Kukri was to hand so I attacked the foam around his hands with some enthusiasm.  The process was hindered by the noise he was making and the fact he was trying to escape while still attached to the canoe. Eventually I managed to hack out a lump of foam still including most of his arms and hands.  Unfortunately my tears of laughter were not helping as they accelerated the foam setting.

Seeking medical help was obviously out of the question, the embarrassment of having to explain his occupation (Chief Research Chemist at a major petrochemical organisation) would simply never have been lived down. Several hours and much acrimony later we had removed sufficient foam (and much hair) to allow him to move again. However he still looked something like a failed audition for Quasimodo with red burns on his arms and expanded blobs of foam sticking everywhere. My comment that the scalding simply made the hairs the foam was sticking to come out easier was not met with the enthusiasm I felt it deserved.

I forgot to add that in retrospect rather unwisely he had set out to do this deed in the hallway of his house (the only place he later explained with sufficient headroom for the canoe - achieved by poking it up the stairwell. Having extricated him we now were faced with the problem of a canoe construction kit embedded in a still gurgling block of foam which was now irrevocably bonded to the hall and stairs carpet as well as several banister rails and quite a lot of wallpaper.

At this point his wife and her mother came back from shopping...... Oh yes - and he had been wearing the pullover Mum in law had knitted him for his birthday the week before.

I didn't think it would take long, here is the worst pun ever......

An American fighter pilot was flying his F16 aircraft over Afghanistan, when he noticed a flying carpet on his left hand side, manned by a man with a machine gun. He looked to his right and saw another carpet alongside, also manned by a man with a machine gun.

He thought ' I've got to get out of this', so he accelerated flat out and put his plane into a high speed loop and came up behind both carpets, which he shot down.

On arriving back at his Aircraft Carrier, he was told to report to the captain immediately. "You idiot !" said the captain. 'We saw what you did on radar and now we're in a load of trouble'.

"What do you mean?" said the pilot, "I shot both carpets down!"

"I know that!" said the captain, "But they were Allied Carpets!"


(Thanks to my sister-in-law, Ann-Louise Tester, for sending me this one)

Long ago, there lived an officer of the Royal Navy named Captain Bravado. He was a manly man's man, who showed no fear when facing his enemies.

One day, while sailing the Seven Seas, his lookout spotted a pirate ship approaching, and the crew became frantic. Captain Bravado bellowed, "Bring me my red shirt!"

The first mate quickly retrieved the captain's red shirt, and while wearing the brightly coloured frock, the Captain led his crew into battle and defeated the pirates.

That evening, all the men sat around on the deck recounting the day's triumph. One of them asked the Captain, "Sir, why did you call for your red shirt before battle?"

The captain replied, "If I were to be wounded in the attack, the shirt would not show my blood. Thus, you men would continue to fight, unafraid." All of the men sat and marvelled at the courage of such a manly man's man.

As dawn came the next morning, the lookout spotted not one, not two, but TEN pirate ships approaching. The crew stared in worshipful silence at the captain and waited for his usual orders. Captain Bravado gazed with steely eyes upon the vast armada arrayed against his ship, and without fear, turned and calmly shouted, "Get me my brown pants!"

(Thanks to my sister-in-law, Ann-Louise Tester, for sending me this one)

The SAS, the army and the police decide to go on a survival weekend together to see who comes out top. After some basic exercises, the trainer tells them their next objective is to go down into the woods and come back with a rabbit for tea.

First up are the SAS. They don their infra red goggles, drop to the ground and crawl into the woods in formation. Absolute silence for 5 minutes, followed by a single muffled shot. They emerge with a rabbit, shot cleanly through the forehead."Excellent" says the trainer.

Next up are the army. They finish their cans of lager, cover themselves in camouflage cream, fix bayonets and charge down into the woods, screaming at the top of their lungs. For the next hour the woods ring with the sound of machine gun fire, mortar bombs, hand grenades and blood-curdling war cries. Eventually, they emerge. Carrying the charred remains of a rabbit.

"A bit messy, but you got a result. Well done" says the trainer.

Lastly, in go the coppers, walking slowly, hands behind backs, whistling "Dixon of Dock Green". For the next few hours, the silence is only broken by the occasional crackle of a walkie talkie: "sierra oscar one, suspect headed straight for you" etc. After what seems an eternity, they emerge. Escorting a squirrel in handcuffs.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" asks the incredulous trainer". "Take this squirrel back and get me a rabbit, like I asked you 5 hours ago!"

So back they go. Minutes pass. Minutes turn to hours, day turns to night. The next morning the trainer and the rest of the crew are awakened by the police, holding the squirrel, now covered in bruises.

"Are you taking the micky?" asks the seriously irate trainer.

The police team leader shoots a glance at the squirrel, who squeaks: "Alright, alright, I'm a rabbit..."

(Thanks to my sister-in-law, Ann-Louise Tester, for sending me this one)

It seems that the RAF wants its troops to be better qualified and more IT literate these days. Seen in "Computing"....

Those Magnificent IT men...

No wonder there's a skills shortage, if this is the level of skill you need in 2001. Andy Thompson, at APG, saw the following job advertised in a national newspaper:

'Information Technology Officer, RAF College Cranwell. The Computer Support Squadron provides for the purchase, maintenance and development of all IT hardware and software for RAF College Cranwell. You will be primarily involved with the analysis of existing IT systems, problem solving and design. Duties will include some programming, technical problem solving and server maintenance.'

Qualifications? 'Two A-levels. Three years in IT. Familiarity with C/C++, Java, Visual Basic, UML, SQL, HTML4, Microsoft Access, Excel, Word, FrontPage and PowerPoint.'

They would like experience of the application of multimedia techniques, NT4, project management, systems analysis, design and applications programming. Preferably, they want someone with an IT degree, experience of storage attached networks, object-oriented languages, Scientia web server, Windows 2000 server and server clustering. Oh, and Sybase. Experience of SSADM 'would also be beneficial'.

If you know the one person in the UK qualified to do this job, please tell him or her that the starting salary is £13,650 -'with the potential to rise to £23,295 per annum'.

The item above appeared in the 29 June - 5 July 2001 issue. The following reply was spotted in the 6 July - 12 July 2001 issue...

We 'ad it tough in our day

Good job he's not applying to RAF Shawbury. An amused Squadron Leader Paul Sharp writes to tell us: 'In addition to the skills sought in that ad, my servicemen are expected to remain current in their ability to take part in military operations anywhere in the world when they are not dealing with the effects of foot and mouth or some other aid to the civilian community.

'It's too easy for you modern types. Until you have been immersed in the joys of Jovial, BAL, JCL and Hex Dumps at 2am, trying to persuade the National Air Traffic System to start again, you don't know what real computing is.'

(And to think that once upon a time a young man with the right attitude but no qualifications could become a Craft Apprentice and learn a trade! Ed.)


A quotation:

We have women in the military, but they don't put us in the front lines. They don't know if we can fight or if we can kill. I think we can. All the general has to do is walk over to the women and say, "You see the enemy over there? They say you look fat in those uniforms."

Elayne Boosler

(Thanks to my daughter Lyndsey Barrett for sending me this one)

Here's an old chestnut for your amusement, its been around the block a few times and has made more come backs than "Status Quo". It is currently doing the rounds of the corporate Email systems again. At least one song has been based on it in the past!

The importance of planning - The Bricklayer's Accident report

This is a bricklayer's accident report, which was printed in the Newsletter of the New Zealand equivalent of the Workers' Compensation Board. This is a true story (Yeah! Yeah! - Ed!!!!). Had this guy died, he'd have walked away with a Darwin Award for sure.

Dear Sir:

I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Block 3 of the accident report form. I put "Poor planning" as the cause of my accident. You asked for a fuller explanation and I trust the following details will be sufficient:

I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six-storey building. When I completed my work, I found I had some bricks left over, which, when weighed later were found to be slightly in excess of 500lbs. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley, which was attached to the side of the building on the sixth floor. Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it.

Then I went down and untied the rope, holding it tightly to ensure a slow descent of the bricks. You will note in Block 11 of the accident report form that I weigh 135lbs. Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rapid rate up the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel which was now proceeding downward at an equally impressive speed. This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions and the broken collarbone, as listed in Section 3 of the accident report form.

Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley. Fortunately by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope, in spite of the excruciating pain I was now beginning to experience. At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Now devoid of the weight of the bricks, that barrel weighed approximately 50lbs. I refer you again to my weight.

As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent, down the side of the building. In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, broken tooth and severe lacerations of my legs and lower body. Here my luck began to change slightly. The encounter with the barrel seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks and fortunately only three vertebrae were cracked. I am sorry to report, however, as I lay there on the pile of bricks, in pain, unable to move, I again lost my composure and presence of mind and let go of the rope and I lay there watching the empty barrel begin its journey back down onto me. This explains the two broken legs.

I hope this answers your query.  

Thanks to my sister in law Jan Ramsey for this item from "On Business". Now you can find out what airline cabin crews really think about awkward passengers! You can either open the article from here by left clicking on the link once or you can save it to disc by right clicking the link once and selecting the "Save Target As..." option. The article is in Adobe Acrobat .pdf format, if you do not have Adobe Reader you can down load a copy free by clicking on the Adobe Acrobat logo.

The Cabin Code (231k) Be patient - it takes a little while to down load!


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Updated 01/02/2005

Constructed by Dick Barrett
©Copyright 2000 - 2005 Dick Barrett
The right of Dick Barrett to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.